¡Bong! In a pop-up mind gymnasium, 700 miles from Moscow …
The warm, salty water of the flotation tank lapped gently around my midriff. In the total darkness, my three companions were beginning to relax.
Snowden’s anxious gibbering had subsided into deep breaths.
Just then, what sounded like an underwater volcano erupting resonated thunderously through the chamber – followed by loud succession of bubbles exploding at the surface. A tidal wave of the chemical, salty broth splashed into my mint julep.
“Och. That wasn’t me,” said Alex.
“I know,” I assured the former SNP leader, whose heroic campaign to free Scotland from the yoke of the English elite had been cruelly thwarted last week.
“Kim, bro - could you try and keep still and not fart? Thank you."
Prising Kim Dotcom out of New Zealand had not been difficult, with the spears only lightly denting the departing jet’s fuselage - the Maoris' traditional send-off for a cherished friend, and their way of thanking him for a successful election campaign. In fact, that had been a breeze, compared to lowering the rotund entrepreneur him into the Summit Venue Boardroom’s centrepiece – a flotation unit brought at great expense from Mill Valley, California. And how kind of the BBC's Dave Lee, the Boswell to Dotcom's Dr Johnson, to offer to foot the bill, too. Dave himself couldn't make it - having relied on Siri, Apple Maps and the robust, travel-friendly Apple iPhone 6 Plus for navigation.
Kimble, as I still called my dear friend, had been harshly detained two years ago in a rural antipodean backwater by law enforcement creeps fearful of permissionless disruption. Dotcom had explained to me that he had at first held out an olive branch to Hollywood, offering them an exciting new distribution system and a revolutionary pricing model, in exchange for a brilliant new digital currency he had devised, called "MegaHugz". They spurned the offer, and on very sketchy evidence, busted him instead - confiscating not only his SUVs but their playful license plates, HACKER, MAFIA, and STONED. How rich would Hollywood be now, if only it had embraced the offer?
Extracting Snowden had been much easier, due to the special relations my host enjoyed with Moscow. I thought the boy might bear a grudge against me. The last time we had seen each other, I’d had to lock him in a giant Smeg refrigerator, to protect this sensitive and valuable asset from the jackals of the Westerm media: Jemima Goldsmith, Ken Loach and Paul Mason of Channel 4 News. But he didn’t seem to remember this. In fact, he didn’t seem to remember anything prior to last week – which was a bit odd.
As for Salmond, my assistant มาลัย (which means "Garland of Flowers" in Thai) and I had bumped into the downcast popular hero as he window-shopped for a holiday dacha downtown, his mournful jowls almost reaching the floor, like a huge slobbery Celtic bullmastif. It seemed cruel not to invite him. Salmond had been wary at first, but once I explained my complex French/Swiss ancestry, and my talent for raising and then losing huge quantities of other people’s money, all his reservations seemed to melt away. Well, once he’d analysed the DNA sample, that is.
And here we were – pioneers, united in our quest for mindfulness, awaiting what would be the start of a historic un-summit.
There was just one more VIP guest, and he hadn’t shown up. I knew he was a busy man, but in the darkness of the tank, I was beginning to get anxious.
“Look, I really don’t think you should get your signed copy of Mein Kampf out in here, Kim,” Salmond advised his new German friend. “Nobody can see it anyway and it might get w…”
Just then the water began to ebb away. It was hard to tell, but it seemed as if the entire flotation tank was slowly being tipped on its side.
I grabbed a towel and sprinted out - just in time. It was just as I suspected. Outside, a completely silent plastic clown-car was pressing obstinately against the wall of our carefully constructed chamber, slowly tipping it over. Inside the car lay a dozing middle-aged man. I grabbed his arm.
“Eric. You always make such a grand entrance,” I greeted him.
“Whu-what? Oh Good Gahd, sorry Steve. It was raining outside and that really fucks with the Google Car’s navigation. It doesn't work at all when it rains - so we always rig the demos for dry days. So I plotted it to drive in a straight line, and set it to override.”
The destination co-ordinates had been pretty spot on. But the Google Chairman had left behind him a trail of destruction: scattering chicken coops, ancient MTZ tractor parts, and rags.
As มาลัย discreetly distributed towels, I could start to explain my mission.
“Gentlemen. We are finally all here. I have gathered you all here for an un-summit that will one day be more celebrated than the summits of our ancestors: like Bretton Woods, or Yalta. Welcome to the only unrecognized state in the world. Welcome … to Transnistria”.
Continues here ... ®
Steve Bong (official title: Lord Bong of #businessmodel) is the founder of Bong Ventures, an early stage investor and incubator focussing on innovative new technology start-ups based in Shoreditch, London. When he's not helping rear the next generation of business models, Steve enjoys parties and foreign travel, extreme cuisine, Open Data and draws his inspiration from Ayn Rand and His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama. He advised (then hired) No.10 policy guru Rohan Silva on mindfulness and innovation, Lily Cole on innovation in giving, Mark Zuckerberg on the Perfect IPO, the Republic of Kazakhstan on emergent social media strategies, LOCOG on brand enforcement, and imagineered the Olympic Opening Ceremony with Danny Boyle, Shoreditch's #guardian coffee coffee shop with Jemima Kiss, and was the social media consultant for Edward Snowden and Lady Thatcher’s Funeral. A recent attempt to arm the Syrian rebels with iOS7 sadly failed, however. He emphatically declined to assist the Islamic Caliphate in creating viral and engaging content, however.
At the personal invitation of Kim Jong Un, he is a strategic consultant on the Nextification of North Korea. Steve wants to pivot the BBC into the 22nd Century, blue-skying its hugely successful Digital Media Initiative, and advises the UK Government on icon design and the new National Curriculum. He favours Small Government but Large Catapults, the Soft Power of Tiny Coding Fingers, and wants more taxpayers to engage in Ambient Crowdsourcing.
Follow Steve at the Transnistria Unsummit via @BongVentures Twitter.